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An introduction to the history and geography of pennsylvania

Bush won the presidential election of 2000 because the fifty states cast more electoral votes for him, even though more people actually voted for his opponent, Albert A.

The election an introduction to the history and geography of pennsylvania Americans about a peculiar institution called the electoral college, and an equally peculiar system known as federalism in which each state conducts elections according to distinct laws and procedures. The daily news contains dozens of stories that underline this basic but often overlooked fact of our national experience: Despite the greatly increased power of the national government in Washington, D.

The history of each state is a narrative that both reflects its own political, social, economic, and cultural traditions and at the same time intersects and shapes the national story. The history of Pennsylvania, perhaps more than any other state, reveals the complex relationship between state history and national history. From its origins as a colony with a special sense of mission—to show that peoples of diverse religions and nationalities could live in peace—to its emergence as a political and economic power, to its struggle to compete in the global marketplace, Pennsylvania and its history contain almost all the principal elements found in the history of the United States.

These icons of state history also illustrate that every chapter of American history has at least a few pages written in Pennsylvania. Human occupation of what we now call Pennsylvania began more than 16,000 years ago.

Evidence of the earliest peoples is found at Meadowcroft Rockshelter in Washington County, a site that is important for its well-preserved artifacts of prehistoric times and that reveals that the region—indeed, the entire North American continent—was inhabited much earlier than previously thought.

By the time Europeans moved into Pennsylvania in the mid-seventeenth century, several native groups, such as the Monongahelas and the Eries, had already vacated the area, and Delawares, Susquehannocks, and Senecas lived in small villages like Kittanning, Shamokin, Logstown, and Wyoming. William Penn sought to coexist peacefully with these Native Americans, and the treaty he signed in 1682 instantly became a symbol of a new philosophy and attitude in the New World.

Unfortunately, in an action that foreshadowed deteriorating relations between whites and Natives throughout American history, his sons ended a long era of peace and trust by the infamous Walking Purchase of 1737, acquiring through deception a large portion of the northeastern part of the colony. The Liberty Bell became a symbol of the revolution against Britain and later came to be seen as a touchstone of democracy in a new republic.

In the nineteenth century, abolitionists adopted the Liberty Bell as the universal symbol of freedom and justice. Pennsylvania, with the Mason and Dixon Line forming its southern boundary, became a major destination on the Underground Railroad for escaping slaves.

  1. The small size indicates it was intended to be carried and not for the classroom, and the maps, like the one below, are only explanatory.
  2. The maps are dated 1921 and the Pennsylvania addendum is dated 1922, so a compromise date of 1921 is used here. The book was probably printed using offset lithography.
  3. The pressure from the plate movement was confined to southeastern Pennsylvania, creating the Piedmont and Ridge and Valley provinces. New York Charles Scribner's Sons 1913.
  4. Almost everywhere the plateau surface has been dissected by rivers into a chaos of valleys and hills. These workbooks were usually the child's to keep, and were not handed in at end of term like textbooks.

Enshrined in a specially designed pavilion, it beckons millions of visitors from every corner of the world. The strategic importance of that location attracted George Washington to the region on behalf of the Virginia colony, which claimed the region along with Pennsylvania and French Canada. British forces gained control of the Forks of the Ohio in 1758 and established Fort Pitt—an important step contributing to the removal of the French from the North American continent.

Railroads and warehouses buried the old fort at the Forks in mounds of dirt and coal ash. Remarkably, the old blockhouse of Fort Pitt survived all this development, and the local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution successfully challenged the mighty Pennsylvania Railroad to preserve it.

Places like the Oley Valley in Berks County, where stone bank barns and timbered covered bridges have withstood the challenges of a changing landscape, carry a rich architectural legacy. Although the Amish refuse to drive cars or use electric appliances, they actively participate in the Farm Show.

  • At the back is a 35 page supplement titled Lessons in Commercial Geography, followed by a 10 page addendum on Pennsylvania titled;
  • From its origins as a colony with a special sense of mission—to show that peoples of diverse religions and nationalities could live in peace—to its emergence as a political and economic power, to its struggle to compete in the global marketplace, Pennsylvania and its history contain almost all the principal elements found in the history of the United States;
  • From 1682 to about 1830 a rural agricultural economy dominated.

Their presence is a reminder of the tradition of religious freedom that made Pennsylvania unique among the American colonies. The Quakers in Philadelphia established this tradition, and William Penn gave voice to this ideal in his writings and policies. Groups that fled persecution in Europe—Moravians, Schwenkfelders, Mennonites, and Harmonists—sought and found refuge and isolation in Pennsylvania. Concern for individual rights, plus the need for social change, brought about important initiatives in criminal justice, public education, care for the mentally ill, social welfare, and the abolition of slavery.

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For example, the construction of Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia 1829 introduced a new system of criminal justice that became a model throughout the world. Throughout the nineteenth century and well into the twentieth, Pennsylvanians continued to challenge the status quo.

The violence in the anthracite region associated with the Molly Maguires, and the bloody events at Homestead and Lattimer in the 1890s, kept Pennsylvania at the forefront of an epic conflict between management and labor. In the same period, progressives such as Gifford Pinchot, J. Horace MacFarland, and Mira Lloyd Dock introduced the concepts of conservation and pushed for public improvements to promote health, recreation, and the scenic beauty of cities.

By the time the Horseshoe Curve near Altoona an introduction to the history and geography of pennsylvania completed in 1854, Pennsylvania had emerged as a major hub of transportation and commerce. The roads, canals, bridges, and railroads that crisscrossed the state reflected an engineering daring and genius that literally overpowered its rugged topography.

The National Road, the Allegheny Portage, the Rockville Bridge, and the Tunkhannock Viaduct are just a few of the landmarks associated with the transportation revolution that culminated in 1941 in the first limited-access highway—the Pennsylvania Turnpike—and in many of the milestones of early aviation history. Building and operating the transportation infrastructure required the skills and sacrifice of thousands of workers, many of them immigrants.

Only at museums in Altoona, Strasburg, and Scranton can visitors begin to understand the enormous scope and impact of this vital industry.

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

In the War of 1812, control of the Great Lakes was a key objective that encouraged the United States to build a small fleet in the remote town of Erie. The naval victory on September 10, 1813, brought fame to Oliver Hazard Perry and his flagship, the Niagara, and to his victory message: The discovery of oil in that Pennsylvania town in 1859, and the commercial exploitation of oil, and later natural gas, triggered a boom that created tremendous wealth—and spectacular failures.

An abundance of other natural resources—coal, timber, and iron ore—coupled with entrepreneurial leadership in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and several other cities, made Pennsylvania an industrial behemoth for more than a century. Processing industries like textiles, leather, and food, and fabricating plants for steel rails and bridges, locomotives and railroad cars, metal products, and electrical equipment, flourished, attracting a huge number of workers from southern and eastern Europe and the rural South.

Over the next thirty years, new buildings in the Capitol Complex reinforced the connections between government, art, history, and progress.

Notwithstanding epochal scandals and withering partisanship, the Capitol endures as a unique forum of democracy. In a timeless routine that resembles a staged production, advocates on every issue lobby in its corridors and rally in its ornate rotunda with the murals of Edwin Abbey looming overhead and the Moravian tiles of Henry Mercer underfoot.

After generations of neglect and careless destruction, a new preservation ethic has saved the artwork of the Capitol and its neighboring buildings. Wright designed this summer retreat for the Kaufmann family of Pittsburgh to coexist in harmony with its natural setting.

In the process, he created a new artistic standard. More than 300,000 miners, equally divided in the bituminous and anthracite fields, were at work in 1919, but by the 1980s their numbers had declined by 90 percent. At the Huber Breaker, from 1939 to 1966, as an introduction to the history and geography of pennsylvania as 6,000 men processed 700 tons of coal each day.

Today, the breaker and dozens of abandoned sites throughout the state form a surreal landscape of iron, steel, and concrete. The New England—style villages of the northern tier, the Ephrata Cloister and the utopian communities of the Moravians and Harmonists, and model industrial towns like Vandergrift in Westmoreland County reflected a persistent belief in the benefits of planning and order.

A very different kind of community emerged in Levittown 1952 in Bucks County, exemplifying the growth of suburbs that became a major trend in the post—World War II era. Throughout the second half of the twentieth century, Pennsylvania developed interstate highways, shopping malls, and residential subdivisions to make suburban life attractive. The social and economic challenge of urban blight was a dominant issue throughout this period.

Like most states in America, Pennsylvania often managed its affairs in reaction to crises and catastrophes. The silent towers of the nuclear power plant at Three Mile Island near Harrisburg became an international symbol of the human and environmental risks inherent in the promise of technology.

Although a nuclear meltdown did not occur, the accident there in 1979 focused attention on the issues of corporate responsibility as well as the regulatory and emergency response role of government.

These issues have deep roots in Pennsylvania going back perhaps as far as the Johnstown Flood 1889 and collapses of the Avondale Mine 1869 and the Darr Mine 1907. The Donora smog of 1948 killed twenty-two people. As a an introduction to the history and geography of pennsylvania of the Knox Mine disaster in 1959, more than 10 billion gallons of water from the Susquehanna River permanently closed a large portion of the northern anthracite region, killing twelve miners and putting thousands more out of work.

This bleak story of death and desolation spawned an aggressive policy of government regulation in the last decades of the twentieth century that included the environmental rights amendment to the state constitution—the first of its kind in the nation. Each place connects us to stories that bear witness to the triumphs and failures of extraordinary and ordinary men and women.

We must preserve these places and the stories they represent because they are our collective memory. The loss of memory for any of us is catastrophic. For a society or a state, the impact of such a loss is equally devastating.

  1. This is the same relief map that appeared in the 1900 Bien state atlas. It is a halftone reproduction of a photo of another map.
  2. The inside covers have double page maps of the United States. It is organized around themes, illustrated here by a section on roads on pages 208-209 , 210-211 , 212-213.
  3. At the back is a 35 page supplement titled Lessons in Commercial Geography, followed by a 10 page addendum on Pennsylvania titled.
  4. Like most states in America, Pennsylvania often managed its affairs in reaction to crises and catastrophes.
  5. Appears to be offset printing.

Writing a history of a state as complex and diverse as Pennsylvania is, by necessity, a highly impressionistic exercise. A trained historian depends on evidence—written, oral, physical—to reach conclusions about the meaning of events and the significance of people and places.

However, the context of the times in which this history is written also has a strong influence on the interpretation of this evidence. This is not a scientific or absolutist endeavor. Regardless of the point of view of the historian or of the reader, the best history contains a sense of passion, an emotional charge that provokes a response and inspires further research and writing. The authors are scholars who study the past with great intensity and who care deeply about their subjects.

If their work encourages further thought and passionate debate on the subject, this will be the greatest measure of success, and the value of Pennsylvania history will be established.